Gui Santos

Warriors Notes: Poole, Kuminga, Rotation, Thompson, Santos

The Warriors need Jordan Poole to play better after a “wildly inconsistent” start to the 2022/23 campaign, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. As Monte Poole notes, Jordan has recorded more turnovers (14) than assists (13) over the past three games during Golden State’s current five-game losing streak.

He’s trying too hard,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Jordan is trying too hard to create every play. He’s at his best when there’s a flow to the game, he’s playing on and off the ball, getting some catch-and-shoot opportunities.”

According to Monte Poole, Jordan Poole is the key to fixing the second unit’s struggles, because he’s the group’s primary ball-handler and scorer.

Here’s more on the defending champions:

  • After losing to the Pelicans Friday night, the Warriors now sit with a 3-7 record. They’re the first defending champion to start 0-6 on the road in NBA history, per ESPN’s Kendra Andrews. Second-year forward Jonathan Kuminga played a career-high 38 minutes in the loss, and Kerr acknowledged his performance after the game. “It was apparent who really played tonight. [Kuminga] played really well,” Kerr said. “He’s earned some minutes … He showed tonight that he’s ready to step into the rotation and contribute. But that has to be every night … be able to play through the tough nights when maybe the minutes aren’t there.”
  • As Andrews relays in the same article, Kerr also marked Anthony Lamb, Ty Jerome and Moses Moody as noteworthy performers who could be in line for more rotation minutes. Lamb and Jerome are both on two-way contracts, while Moody was the 14th pick of last year’s draft.
  • On October 30, Kerr stated that Klay Thompson would be held out of one end of back-to-backs as he works on his conditioning, but it wouldn’t be for the full season like in ’21/22. However, apparently he’s changed his mind about that. “Klay may not play in a back-to-back all year. He didn’t last year because of two straight season-ending injuries,” Kerr said, per Andrews (Twitter link).
  • Gui Santos, a second-round pick in June’s draft (55th overall), is on the Santa Cruz Warriors’ roster to start the G League season, which means he signed an NBAGL contract. It’s essentially as though he’s a draft-and-stash prospect because the Warriors still hold his NBA rights, but having him play in the G league allows the Warriors to get a closer look at — and have a more hands-on approach to — the Brazilian forward’s development.

Pacific Notes: Murray, Vezenkov, Santos, Leonard

Kings first-round pick Keegan Murray put on a show Saturday in the California Classic Summer League, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The No. 4 selection posted 26 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes and drew a vocal crowd reaction with his array of moves.

“My goal going in was, obviously, get the win first,” Murray said. “I knew that was a big thing for me, and just play my game. Don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Don’t do anything I was uncomfortable doing. Just stick to what I do best, and that’s knock down shots and get rebounds, so I just stuck to it.”

Murray said he wasn’t nervous heading into his first game as a professional and he was encouraged after seeing his first shot fall. He wound up shooting 10 of 14 from the field, including 4 of 5 from three-point range, and impressed his coaches and teammates with his efficiency.

“Every time, it seems like he does the right thing,” Summer League coach Jordi Fernandez said. “He doesn’t force it. He makes it look simple, and, as you guys know, when you watch a professional athlete that, whatever he does looks simple, that is usually a really good professional athlete. Overall, I think the kid is very special. What we saw in college, I’m seeing it right now, and if I have to — well, I cannot bet because this is the NBA, but if I could, I’m going to say that he’s going to be a very, very, very good NBA player.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Sasha Vezenkov, whose draft rights were acquired last month in a trade with Cleveland, will meet with the Kings during the Las Vegas Summer League to discuss his future, according to Stavros Barbarousis of Eurohoops. The 26-year-old forward is under contract with Olympiacos, but he has NBA opt-outs this summer and in 2023.
  • Gui Santos, a second-round pick by the Warriors, also had an impressive Summer League debut, notes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 21-year-old swingman out of Brazil had 23 points, six rebounds and three steals. “Before the game, I was nervous because it’s a different game here,” Santos said. “I’m playing outside of my country and my family is not here. But when I started to play, I gained confidence. Catching the ball and making the plays, I started to feel better.” Golden State will likely keep Santos overseas for another year or two, but that decision hasn’t been finalized.
  • Clippers owner Steve Ballmer believes “the sky is the limit” for his team, especially if Kawhi Leonard can make a full comeback from the torn right ACL that prevented him from playing this season, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Warriors Notes: Rookies, Roster, Iguodala, Summer League

The Warriors selected Patrick Baldwin Jr. with their first-round pick (No. 28) in a gamble on his upside, and he’ll bring a familiar, appreciated mentality to Golden State, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

As Poole details, Baldwin was a five-star recruit entering college, but was limited to just 11 games for Wisconsin-Milwaukee due to a serious ankle injury, which had some questioning his toughness. The young forward insists that isn’t an issue.

There’s never a point where if I feel like I’m healthy that I feel like I should sit out,” Baldwin told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I know that’s contrary to popular belief with some people. If I’m healthy, I’m playing, but at some points I was pushing through it. But if there was a sliver of a chance I could play for my team and compete, I’m going out there to play.”

Baldwin averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 28.5 minutes per contest as a freshman last season, but his shooting line of .344/.266/.743 was dreadful. He also tested extremely poorly at the combine last month, Poole notes, recording just a 26.5 inch maximum vertical leap, one of the worst marks in the last 10 years.

I’m a better athlete than I showed that day,” Baldwin told Poole. “I’m a firm believer in that. I know I’ve got to come out here and really show that’s not an issue. That’s all you can do. You can’t sit and talk about it. You’ve got to do it.”

President of basketball operations Bob Myers recently said that Baldwin still needs to be medically cleared for Summer League action, so it sounds like the ankle might still be an issue (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Myers also touched on the team’s second-round selections, per Slater. Golden State expects to have Ryan Rollins on the 15-man roster, but might draft-and-stash Gui Santos. The Warriors traded up to acquire Rollins at No. 44, while the Brazilian forward Santos was the team’s own pick at No. 55.
  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic provides a player-by-player breakdown of the team’s roster following the draft. Myers said drafting young players is desirable in part because they’re so difficult to obtain in free agency. “It’s easier to get some of the older players, we think, in free agency, than young players. Young players are probably the most in demand in free agency. Obviously trading for them is extremely difficult. So that’s why we draft some guys like that,” he said as part of a larger quote.
  • Andre Iguodala has earned “player-emeritus status” with the Warriors, Monte Poole states in a separate article. Iguodala is undecided on whether or not he’s going to retire, but the team would be “thrilled” to have him back. Poole argues that Iguodala’s off-court impact is incredibly valuable to Golden State and the team should keep him as long as he wants to stick around, like what Miami does with Udonis Haslem.
  • The Warriors expect James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody to all participate in Summer League, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area, who says the trio has a big opportunity to improve this offseason. Wiseman, of course, missed all of last season after multiple setbacks from a couple of knee surgeries.

Draft Decisions: Dieng, Jovic, Besson, Kamagate, L. Miller, More

The players who declared as early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft have until 5:00 pm Eastern time on Monday to decide whether or not to keep their names in this year’s draft pool.

Since the NCAA’s own withdrawal deadline passed earlier this month, today’s deadline doesn’t have a real impact on most college players — if they were going to withdraw, they’ve probably done so already to avoid forgoing their remaining NCAA eligibility. However, today’s deadline is an important one for non-college prospects, including those who are playing in professional leagues in Europe and around the world.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has provided a series of updates on top international prospects who are finalizing their early entry decisions today. Let’s round them up…

(Note: The country listed for each prospect is where he has been playing, not necessarily where he’s from.)

Staying in the draft:

Dieng, the No. 12 player on ESPN’s big board, and Jovic, ESPN’s No. 24 prospect, are considered good bets to be first-round picks, so it comes as no surprise that they’ll remain in the draft. The other players in this list may not be first-rounders, but most of them have a good chance to be drafted.

Besson comes in at No. 38 on ESPN’s board, while Kamagate is No. 40. Procida is the 52nd on player on ESPN’s list, but has received “strong reviews” during the pre-draft process, according to Givony.

Samar, the No. 61 player on ESPN’s board, has also gained traction recently due to his strong workouts for teams and the fact that his NBA buyout is flexible and inexpensive, making him an appealing draft-and-stash option, Givony explains.

Santos is the No. 76 player on ESPN’s top 100.

Withdrawing from the draft:

Miller, the No. 43 prospect on ESPN’s big board for 2022, will sign with the G League Ignite, he tells Givony.

“My decision to withdraw from this year’s draft is based on what’s best for my long-term development,” Miller said. “With another year of development both on and off the court, I will put myself in an even better position for the 2023 draft. Going through the pre-draft process, I learned about what it takes to be a successful professional. Whether it’s the daily on-court work, off-court work, diet, or recovery, I have gained a much greater understanding of the habits it takes to get to the top of this field.”

Givony is bullish on Miller’s chances of boosting his draft stock for next year, tweeting that the young forward will likely be a top-20 pick in ESPN’s next 2023 mock draft.

Matkovic was the No. 60 prospect on ESPN’s board, while Ivisic was No. 63, which made them borderline candidates to be drafted. Strazel was unranked.

A total of 37 international prospects declared for the draft as early entrants and typically no more than about 10 or 15 of those players keep their names in the pool. In other words, it’s a safe bet that many more players on our list of international early entrants will withdraw by today’s deadline, even if it those decisions aren’t reported immediately.

Southeast Notes: Hornets Workouts, Atkinson, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a couple of potential lottery picks for solo workouts on Friday, the team announced (Twitter links): Duke’s Mark Williams, who is ranked No. 14 on ESPN’s big board, and Shaedon Sharpe, who is ranked No. 7 due to his enormous upside despite not playing a game for Kentucky. The Hornets control the Nos. 13, 15 and 45 picks in the 2022 NBA draft.

Williams has been linked to Charlotte multiple times in mock drafts, which makes perfect sense since he’s a rim-running, paint-protecting center with great size and athleticism. He could fill a major weak spot if he’s NBA-ready, as the team has lacked a big man in that mold for several years.

Sharpe seems unlikely to fall to No. 13, so the Hornets were probably just doing their due diligence and getting a look at a player who hasn’t played competitively in nearly a year, but they theoretically could package their picks in order to move up and select him.

The team also hosted a group workout on Friday (Twitter link) featuring Michigan State’s Max Christie, UConn’s R.J. Cole, Richmond’s Grant Golden, Furman’s Alex Hunter, France’s Ismael Kamagate, and Brazil’s Gui Santos. Kamagate and Christie are the highest-rated prospects among the group at Nos. 40 and 45, respectively, so they could be possibilities for Charlotte’s second-rounder.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic explores what the Hornets are getting in new head coach Kenny Atkinson, noting that Atkinson earned league-wide praise by establishing a culture in Brooklyn that was reminiscent of a college team, something the Nets have sorely lacked since he resigned in 2020. Known as a meticulous worker who embraces analytics, Atkinson used to physically participate in Nets practices, writes Schiffer, adding that Atkinson appears to be entering a better situation in Charlotte than his previous head coaching job in Brooklyn.
  • The Wizards are among the teams weighing the idea of trading their lottery pick (No. 10 overall) in a possible win-now move, Marc Stein reports in his latest article for Substack.
  • Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson and Kansas’ David McCormack will work out for the Wizards on Saturday, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Robinson is ranked No. 77 on ESPN’s board, so he could be a possibility for the team’s second-round pick, which is No. 56 overall.

Draft Notes: Braun, Wilson, Diop, Santos, Edey, Pack, Miller

After winning a national championship with the Jayhawks this season, Kansas junior shooting guard Christian Braun is entering his name in the 2022 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Ranked as the No. 30 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, Braun took a major step forward in his third college season, averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG on .495/.386/.733 shooting in 40 games (34.4 MPG). He also played a big role in this month’s title game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to help Kansas secure the victory.

“It is hard to follow a season where you win every championship that’s in front of you, but I’m excited to explore the options in front of me and enjoy this process,” Braun told ESPN. “I’ve worked my whole life to show the NBA who I am and what I’m about, so I will continue to put my head down and work to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA.”

Meanwhile, Braun’s teammate Jalen Wilson will once again test the waters, according to Andrew Joseph of USA Today (Twitter link), who notes that the 6’8″ forward has signed with an NCAA-certified agency. A redshirt sophomore, Wilson first tested the draft waters in 2021.

Here are a few more draft-related updates as the early entrant deadline nears:

  • Senegalese center Khalifa Diop, who currently plays for Gran Canaria in Spain, is entering the draft, per Global Scouting (Twitter link). Diop is the No. 40 prospect on ESPN’s board.
  • Brazilian forward Gui Santos, the No. 84 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, has declared for the draft, according to a Super Esportes report. Santos has been playing for Minas in the Brazilian league.
  • Purdue big man Zach Edey, the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s board, has announced (via Instagram) that he’ll remain with the Boilermakers for his junior year.
  • After entering the transfer portal while testing the draft waters, Kansas State’s Nijel Pack has committed to Miami, he announced on Saturday (Twitter link). Having secured a lucrative NIL deal, Pack appears committed to playing at least one more college season rather than keeping his name in the draft.
  • Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy, is entering the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Givony notes that Miller made an impression at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this month.

Draft Notes: Juzang, Primo, Santos, Garrett

Breakout NCAA Tournament star Johnny Juzang has decided to test the draft waters, he revealed in a Twitter post. Juzang averaged 22.8 PPG in six tournament games to carry the 11th-seeded UCLA Bruins to the Final Four. The 6’7” Juzang will keep his options open by maintaining his college eligibility. He’s currently rated No. 50 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft news:

  • Alabama freshman wing Joshua Primo, like Juzang, will explore his draft prospects while maintaining his college eligibility, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony relays. Primo, who also announced his decision on social media, was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team after averaging 8.1 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 22 MPG while shooting 38% from distance. He’ll stay in the draft if teams inform him that he’ll go in the first round, he told Givony. He’s ranked No. 38 by ESPN.
  • Brazilian forward Gui Santos has submitted the required paperwork to enter the draft, Givony writes in a separate story. The 6’8”, 18-year-old forward is averaging 8.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 1.7 APG while shooting 37% from deep for Brazil’s Minas Tenis Clube. He was not originally expected to enter this year’s draft but positive feedback from teams and the removal of NBA travel restrictions for scouting purposes convinced him to determine if he might get drafted.
  • Kansas’ Marcus Garrett has declared for the draft and will not use his extra year of eligibility, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. The point guard is ranked No. 86 by ESPN. He averaged 11.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 3.7 APG this past season.